I've recently had need to read and post to some forums implemented using Discourse, including Python's Forums. I've been very impressed with it, so I decided to try it out. You can see the result at Discuss wxPython.
Some of the things I like are:
- Posts can use Markdown for rich formatting.
- Real time updates to the topic being viewed as new posts are made.
- A bit of GitHub integration
- Multiple categories on one site vs. 2 separate and distinct groups
- Easy searching across categories, or within one category, or within one topic
- It has a maillist mode, although I haven't tried that yet.
- Easy LnF and feature customization per site or per user
- trust levels, groups and security
- good UI and interaction on mobile
As you can see if you visit the site, I've imported the posts from wxPython-users and wxPython-dev (as of a few days ago.) The reformatting of the messages sometimes wasn't great, but as far as I can tell the content and attachments all made it in okay. There was almost 109,000 messages imported, going back 20 years!
As part of the import user accounts were created for all sender email addresses, but in a "staged" state. This means that if you go through the normal sign-up on the site with the email you used to post to wxPython-users or wxPython-dev, then it will automatically associate your account with your existing messages. If you don't like the automatically assigned username then you can change that in your preferences.
I'm not 100% sure yet if we'll switch exclusively to the forum for group communications, I'd like to get some feedback first. But I like it so far.
Oh, yeah... It's written in Ruby, but we won't hold that against them. 😉